- Sermon Notes
A Victorious Mind
As you know Pastor Rich and I were recently in Africa.One of the most impactful truths I came away with was the genuine response to daily suffering…
Pastor Rich mentioned in his sermon upon our return that our Pastors and their families have learned how to suffer well.
Following the many teachings we shared, a time was given for questions - - often that period of time lasted longer than the teachings themselves.
The only question all week about questioning God came from one of the wives who asked about the end times…
Of course there is no answer this side of Heaven to that question.
More strikingly though was the lack of questions about
•Why does God do this or that
•I think God should have done this or that
•Why does God allow us to suffer
•Why does He allow evil in this world
We heard none of that
So as I thought through this experience and the impression it made on me, I landed in Isaiah…
•In America we hear questions all the time like, Why does God allow tragedy?
•What about injustices in the world?
You may be going through various difficulties and thinking, “What is happening - - Why is God doing this?”
•We tend to interpret life by how it’s going at each moment, by how it looks to us right now.
•If it’s uncomfortable, if it’s a little difficult, then we sometimes falsely conclude that God’s thoughts toward us aren’t good or that He isn’t thinking of us at all.
God’s perspective is not our own is it?
And that’s what we want to talk about tonight. How to have a victorious mind!
A little context for our text-
•God is calling Israel to revival through the Prophet Isaiah.
•The people are pursuing worldly things and God is calling them back to Himself.
•Rather than spend their hard earned wages on worldly things, He calls them to eat what is good - picture a banquet feast hosted by God Himself.
Illustration - The Prodigal Son
A very important biblical lesson in all of this; In order for us to be spiritually victorious, we have to be spiritually satisfied - our souls need to be full, or we become hungry or thirsty for the world.
He’s calling us back to Himself - to be revived - to be in greater fellowship with Him.
When you visit places of poverty like Pastor Rich and I did and serve Believers, you quickly realize they lack for the things of this world which allows them to have a deeper relationship with God.
We are so blessed in this country and we are blessed to share what we have with others who have very little.
God uses our abundance to minister the most basic needs to others.But with that comes worldly temptations others may not experience.
Matthew 19:24; Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Let’s take a look at a very short but very powerful text this evening;
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Lord why did you give me such a short text to share?And of course the answer lies within the text itself!
I. “FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS”
A.God does not always do what we think He should
Romans 12:2; And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
He’s calling us to have the mind of Christ - to filter our decisions, our circumstances, our conduct, our marriage relationships, our relationships outside of marriage, our work ethic…through His Word, through prayer, through Godly counsel…
•Sometimes we think, “If the Lord would only save my friend or family member?
•Or, “why does it seem like God allows the ungodly to prosper?”
•In Africa I undoubtedly asked Him, “They are such beautiful saints; why must they suffer so much?”
•And I confess when I owned my business I would sometimes think, “I could run this business better than how God is leading me right now.”
And my dear wife would remind me NOT, that God gave us that business and could just as easily take it away…
She was right - and I listened to her counsel. We call that not allowing the enemy to win the moment or day.
Matthew 7:24-27; “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
This life of ours has struggles - many storms for all of us - We all need a firm foundation.
Wouldn’t you like to have victory over your mind’s struggle to wrestle with God and flesh thinking about what He should do?
B. God does not always do what I ask Him
Matthew 7:7; Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Mark 11:24; Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
John 16:24; Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Who did Jesus make these promises too?
What was the qualification?
Matthew 16:24; Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Illustration: You might pray, “Please don’t let it rain, so I might complete my project.But next door the farmer might be praying, “please send the rain for my crops.”
This is really a true test of faith, some follow Christ to this point, then turn away and let others know, “God failed me - - He didn’t answer my prayers”
C. “Nor are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
•There will always be some who think their way is right.
•They have an opinion on every subject and are happy to give it to you…
•I knew a lot about parenting for instance until we started raising kids
At 21 Sherri and I knew very little about marriage - contrary to culture, it was a healthy place to be for marriage - BECAUSE we desired and were willing to do it God’s way.
•He grew us up together in marriage so we could declare His ways to others.
•Without Him and His ways, we have no authority on the topic.
•And of course there are those who insist on doing it their way or they pick up their ball and go home - they won’t play by His rules…
Romans 3:10-11; “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God;
II.“FOR AS THE HEAVENS ARE HIGHER THAN THE EARTH
vs 9; So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
II.“FOR AS THE HEAVENS ARE HIGHER THAN THE EARTH”
A.How much higher are the heavens than the earth?
His thoughts about us are higher than our thoughts about ourselves.
What’s the value of this? - God says we are made in the image of God
•Take hold of this value - it will change the way you think of yourselves and how you speak of others - how you show patience and discernment during difficult times…
•When your minds are victorious - your life will follow.
John 8:31-32; So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
B. What is true wisdom & faith?
•Recognize and embrace that God’s thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours?
•We have limited knowledge of the facts.
•We have no certain knowledge of our immediate future.
Our plans for tomorrow could be cancelled by our death yet tonight…
•Commit your ways completely to the Lord.
Proverbs 16:3; Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established.
•Trust in God even though you can’t see or understand Him.
Psalm 37:5; Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
This victorious mindset will enable you to defeat lies - - we are surrounded by lies - - they keep us in prison.
Matthew 24:36; “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Quote by Billy Graham…
Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB